The Drop-in Centre in Gweru is one of the projects that Antelope Park community volunteers find particularly rewarding to visit. There, they have the opportunity to spend a few hours with the many vulnerable children who live on the city’s streets; supporting their education, playing games and enjoying quality time together. Here, two recent volunteers talk about their time at the Drop-in Centre:
‘The Drop-in Centre is my favourite place to visit during medical and lions programme, because the kids are amazing. They are so happy even though they do not have as much as we do. The favourite thing I enjoyed was making a meal for them and seeing how grateful they are. We bought ice-cream for them on one of our visits which they were very excited about. Everyone should go to the Drop-in Centre.’ Tina from Norway
‘When we first arrived, we went for the outreach and some shopping. The children were really friendly so it was easy to start a conversation. After they had eaten, some were dancing and having fun. That was lovely to see. Since it was many of the volunteer’s/intern’s last day, they bought chips and candy, so we had a little party. The last thing we did was watching them play football/soccer and they were good. When we said good-byes some gave hugs and some said “see you next time”. That made me realise that they enjoyed our stay. It was nice to see them smiling and having a good time, even though their life/situation may be difficult being there. I enjoyed the stay.’ Mette-Malene from Norway
Another popular place to visit is Mkoba 4 Primary School, where community volunteers are able to assist within the Special Needs Class. They work closely with the children to help them understand everything that their teacher is telling them. The volunteers enjoy supporting these students, as well the fun to be had for all during break times!
This is what volunteer Tuva from Norway had to say about her time visiting Mkoba 4 Primary School:
‘Mkoba 4 Primary School is a big school with 2,200 students. Because it has so many students, they don’t have enough space of teachers to have them there at the same time. To deal with this they use something they call “hot seating” where each student attends either in the morning or afternoon classes. At the school, they showed us the kindergarten area. All the children were so sweet when we got there. Today they learned about shapes. In the break we played with the kids. They went all crazy, it was so much fun. After the break they were singing a lot of children’s songs. We tried to tell a Norwegian fairy-tale. We had a great day at the Mkoba 4 Primary School!’
Medical volunteers from Antelope Park also have the opportunity to assist in the community during visits to clinics within Gweru, where they can observe healthcare staff as they deal with patients. As the clinics are always understaffed and poorly resourced, this can be an interesting experience for the volunteers.
Here is what Rheza from Indonesia had to say about his time at Mkoba 4 Polyclinic, one of Gweru’s larger clinics:
‘I spent time at Mkoba 4 Polyclinic assisting with pill counting. There were many patients in Maternity and the Opportunistic Infections wards. One of us had an overwhelming experience of weighing what seems to be an unending line of babies. To my surprise, the clinic is surprisingly well-run and the nurses are excellent and very much knowledgeable.’
If you would like to volunteer in the Gweru community, you can find out how here.